Finding a voice

I’ve been thinking about the idea of ‘finding a voice’ as a part of learning. It’s mentioned a few places in our readings and also has been mentioned in class and I must say it’s taken a bit to get a sense of what this means. I can see how the voice has various stages or ways of being as we can find in Women’s Ways of Knowing. However, I’ve been trying to see how this can fit in other contexts of learning.

This week I had an opportunity to have another perspective. I substituted for 2 days in a 6th grade English class and part of the assignments were for the class to journal. One set of classes had clear instructions, but another didn’t and they said their teacher hadn’t covered this yet. I tried to get some more direction how to handle this, but nothing was available. So, I winged it! They were reading the Greek story of Ulysses (quite adventurous, you could say, among other things) and so I just asked them to write about something that happened over the summer – something interesting or adventurous.

A couple of the kids were a little stuck and couldn’t think of anything. One said she got lost in the woods while playing with her brother, so I suggested she reflect on how that happened and how she felt when she thought she was lost and then how she felt when she found her brother, etc… Another said he went to see his grandparents in New York and while there, he went to a Yankees game. So, I suggested he write about what it was like for him to go to the Yankees game.

As the classes went along with their journaling and I occasionally checked on them, I began to get a deeper sense of the concept of finding a voice. What a great way for each child to begin to reflect on something that was significant to them! Perhaps they’ll see it in a different light. Perhaps they’ll find a deeper meaning in something that they experienced. Surely, each one will respond differently to the process.

I know it’s a process to become more clear and authentic about what’s going on within our own selves. Know Thyself, so it is! I got a nice charge off considering that such an activity could start them on their way to knowing themselves.

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